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Jacob deGrom still doesn’t look like the Mets’ Opening Day starter


Opening Day might not be a given for Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom, who’s slowly working his way back from a bout of back stiffness in camp. The righty tossed a bullpen session on Sunday in preparation for an upcoming simulated game later this week, but the current rate of his recovery process suggests that he’ll only be able to make four Grapefruit League starts before the start of the season, well under the 5-6 outings every other starter is expected to make. And that’s if everything goes according to plan.

The 29-year-old righty avoided any major injuries during his 2017 campaign with the Mets. He went 15-10 in 31 starts with a 3.53 ERA, 2.6 BB/9 and 10.7 SO/9 in 201 1/3 innings and earned Cy Young consideration at the end of the season. It was the first time he’d logged over 200 innings in a single season, something he might do again in 2018 if his rehab doesn’t cut into the regular season too much.

Still, the Mets have every right to be cautious as they return from an injury-plagued season, one in which they lost Noah Syndergaard to a torn lat, Matt Harvey to a stress injury in his shoulder, Zack Wheeler to a stress fracture in his arm and Steven Matz to elbow surgery. Given that deGrom was often the healthiest starter in the rotation last year, rushing him back to make the ceremonial first start of the year seems imprudent. At least, that was the sentiment expressed by pitching coach Dave Eiland following the right-hander’s latest workout. “With Jacob deGrom, we will not make an exception,” he told reporters Sunday. “That’s stupid. We’re not going to be careless just so he can pitch Opening Day.”

Justin Turner suffers broken wrist after being hit by a pitch

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Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner left Monday’s Cactus League game against the Athletics after he was hit by a pitch. He went for X-rays, revealing that he suffered a broken wrist, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Shaikin adds that Turner is unlikely to return before May, noting that Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman missed six weeks with a similar injury last year and Astros outfielder George Springer missed nine weeks in 2015.

Needless to say, this is a huge loss for the Dodgers. Last year, Turner hit .322/.415/.530 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 543 plate appearances, helping the Dodgers reach the World Series. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his career and finished eighth in NL MVP balloting.

Thankfully, the Dodgers have some versatile players on the roster. Logan Forsythe could move from second base to third, giving Chase Utley more playing time at second. Enrique Hernandez could man the hot corner as well. Chris Taylor has played some third base, or he could shift to second base in Forsythe’s stead. The club should shed some light on how it plans to move forward following Turner’s injury.